From Phys.org, January 22, 2015
Fukushima executives to be spared charges over nuclear disaster
Japanese prosecutors said Thursday that executives in charge of the Fukushima nuclear plant will not be charged, setting up a possible showdown with a citizens’ panel that wants someone brought to book for the disaster.
The move is the latest in a tussle between legal authorities and an angry public over who should take responsibility for the tsunami-sparked reactor meltdowns in 2011 that forced tens of thousands from their homes.
A parliamentary report has said Fukushima was a man-made disaster caused by Japan’s culture of “reflexive obedience”, but no one has been punished criminally.
“We conclude that there is not enough evidence to suggest that Tokyo Electic executives could have predicted or could have avoided (the accident),” said Ryoichi Nakahara, deputy chief prosecutor of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office.
He said prosecutors had questioned a wider group of experts following the July panel ruling but reached the same conclusion.
Under Japanese law, if the judicial review panel challenges that decision a second time, a group of court-appointed lawyers would then be compelled to press charges.
The three are former chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata, then-vice president Sakae Muto and former vice president Ichiro Takekuro.
Campaigners have called for about three dozen company officials to be held accountable for their failure to take proper measures to protect the site against the tsunami, which sparked the worst atomic crisis in a generation.
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